President Trump Signs Historic VA MISSION Act

President Trump signed the Veterans Affairs Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018, or VA MISSION Act of 2018 on June 6. The legislation passed in both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. “You fulfilled your duty to our nation with tremendous loyalty and courage,” the President told veterans and their families gathered for the signing. “And with the signing of this veterans’ choice legislation, we take one more crucial step in fulfilling our duty to you.”

What Will Change?

The focus of the VA MISSION Act is on improving patient care. It will add choice and flexibility to veterans’ care. Patients will now be able to seek care from a larger pool of providers when timely and convenient care is not available. This is designed to increase patient choice and ultimately provide better outcomes for veterans.

It also streamlines the process to transition medical records from Department of Defense systems into the VA, ensuring that veterans will not lose care. The VA MISSION Act will prioritize getting timely, quality care to veterans, even if it means that they go outside of the VA to get it.

The President took the opportunity to celebrate the other accomplishments of his administration. He recognized recently signed ‘Right to Try’ legislation, military budget increases,  tax reform, and low unemployment rates. He also championed the VA Accountability legislation that passed earlier in his Presidency.

“As a candidate for President, I promised to make reforming the VA one of my absolute highest priorities,” Trump said. “And from the first day of my administration, that is exactly what we’ve done.”

Credit Given Where Credit is Due

President Trump recognized the work of the legislators and other leaders that was “inspirational.” The VA MISSION Act was sponsored by Representative David P. Roe (R-TN). He was among House and Senate leaders, as well as those in veteran service organizations and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Trump also recognized Robert Wilkie, the President’s nominee for United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

“I call them leaders because on this legislation they are indeed leaders,” he said of the contributions of so many. “I just can’t stress—the people here, the people in the audience, senators, congressmen, the great people working at the VA, and soon-to-be Secretary Wilkie, and everybody—the work that they’ve done to get this through is really inspirational to me.”

There were also veterans in attendance, including two who the President singled out as having been “so badly wronged, neglected, and mistreated” in the past. The announcement came on June 6, the 74th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy by the Allies in World War II. The significance of the day was not lost on the President.

“In every generation there have been heroes like them, patriots who answer the call to serve, who do whatever it takes, wherever and whenever we need them to defend America,” speaking of those who served on D-Day. “And when they come home, we must do everything that we can possibly do for them. And that’s what we’re doing.”

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Katie Begley

Katie Begley is a US Naval Academy graduate and former Surface Warfare Officer. In addition to being a military spouse, she is a freelance writer specializing in travel, education, and parenting subjects. Katie has worked in numerous communications roles for volunteer organizations and professionally for a local parenting magazine.

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